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Published: July 31st 2009
We decided to leave Bunaken and see what else Sulawesi had to offer. We spent Monday in Manado on the mainland, which was a nightmare, dirty, noisy, traffic everywhere and road signs that were impossible to follow! We managed to do the essentials like Internet and buying eardrops, which we were both in need of badly.
None of the hotels ,within our budget had a shower, instead they had a 'mandi' which is basically a tank in the corner of the bathroom that's filled from a cold tap then the idea is that the water can be used, by means of a scoop, to either flush the toilet or pour over your body in an attempt to wash yourself, there's no outlet for the water so it sits in the bottom going stagnant, nice! Oh well, ' when in Indonesia do as the Indonesians do' I guess.
As early as possible next day we were on the bus to Tomohan, a town inland close to the Tomohon Volcano. After a nightmare bus journey, hot smelly and very overcrowded, we were dropped off at a peaceful couple of Homestays. We chose one and were relieved to find they had a vacant
bungalow. We met a couple there, Roland and Rowena, from Switzerland. We ended up having lunch together then getting 3 microlets (small mini buses) to Lahendong Lake, a lake containing sulphur deposits. The microlet dropped us off at the bottom of a steep hill and gestured that we walk up. Five minutes later we arrived at a café with views of the lake. On the walk down we passed a huge crack in the ground spewing out clouds of hot sulphurous gasses. The smell was pretty bad. We walked half way round the lake and realised it wasn’t going to be possible to get right round so turned back. We made our way back on a series of microlets to Volcano Resort.
At 7.30pm we returned to the restaurant where we’d had lunch but they’d run out of food! We hunted around but found nowhere else to eat so bought crackers and cheese from the supermarket instead. We’d had a similar problem in Manado the night before.
We got back to Volcano Resort and discovered they do meals there! A couple invited us to join them on a guided walk up the volcano at 7am next morning. Stan
went but unfortunately I declined as I was suffering from an ear infection, picked up from too much snorkelling. Probably weakened by lack of proper food too! The temperature in the evening was quite cool due to the altitude of Tomohon, we even needed a blanket on the bed, would have made for a good night's sleep but we were woken up at 5am by music coming from the church. It was a kind of singing of hymns by a woman with a high pitched voice sounding more like karaoke. I've heard Mosques at that time in the morning but never Christian churches.
They all arrived back around 11am and I had to be satisfied looking at the photographs. Apparently the climb up to the crater had been tough. The guide had only allowed them to spend 5 minutes at the crater as the volcano is active and tourists have been killed in the past there!
We spent the rest of the day exploring the area around our Resort. That evening we met up with Rowena, Roland and Chris ( a lone traveller from Germany) for dinner but again the restaurant had run out of food, they
managed to put a meal together but it was pretty bad.
We spent the next day relaxing and got a taxi to the airport at 5pm. We bumped into Malcolm and Sue again at the airport. The flight was delayed (again) meaning we arrived at Kuala Lumpur at some ungodly hour. By the time we’d got through customs and retrieved our bags it was 1.20am. The last bus of the day into K.L. left at 1.20am. We made it by the skin of our teeth occupying the last remaining seats. We arrived at K.L. Central at 2.20am and shared a taxi with Malcolm and Sue to China Town. Lee Mun Hotel was all shut up but, despite the late hour, we managed to find rooms in another place.
We spent the next day shopping for essentials, doing Internet and buying bus tickets to Mersing on the East Coast next day.
That evening we had a farewell dinner with Sue and Malcolm before they headed off to Singapore. Sue was taking a 3 week break from working as an aid worker on the Pakistan/ Afghanistan border so we wish her well and a safe return home in October.
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